When someone breaks into your home or car, it can leave you feeling unsettled, angry, and in search of retribution.
But it isn’t often that a victim feels forgiveness and understanding, which makes this story so unique.
A Bungled Burglary
Earlier this year, a man in his twenties named Rashawn Turner tried to break into the non-profit All You Can, Inc. in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. He wasn’t successful, and he fled, and all that he left behind was a grainy photo on the security camera.
Still, Turner felt poorly about what he’d tried to do, so he contacted the non-profit organizer and city councilman Ralph Rodriguez to apologize. “I have to be willing to face the consequences, and that is what I’m ready to do,” he wrote to him on social media, as per CBS News.
With the case closed, many might have then contacted the local authorities or pressed charges. But not Rodriguez. He decided to take a different approach.
Understanding the Situation
Rodriguez wanted to know about Turner and why he felt as though he had to try and break in that night.
“I actually took the time to hear his story, see the environment in which he lives,” Rodriguez told the news outlet. “And I get it. Poverty has a way of pushing you to do things that you would have never imagined you were even capable of doing.”
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It turns out Turner had a lot going on at home, and he felt as though he had no other choice.
“I made a severe lapse in my judgment that night,” he explained. “My father was struggling with basic needs, and I was like, I can’t sit here and just wait for what little we still have to be taken away. I have to do something.”
Leading With Compassion
Once Rodriguez understood where the young man was coming from and why he’d done what he’d done, he decided to give him a chance.
He gave him some money and offered him a part-time job painting the non-profit center. He also set him up with job training to land something more steady in the future.
“What he doesn’t need anymore is any more disappointments,” Rodriguez explained. “I’m pretty sure people have told him things in his life and dropped the ball 10 out of 10 times. It’s just not what I’m prepared to do.”
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For his part, Turner doesn’t want to waste this opportunity and is determined to prove himself. “I thought there would be no one willing to help me, but you never know; you just have to ask,” he said. “But I wasn’t willing to ask.”
“You just need a shot,” Rodriguez added. “And I’d be remiss if I didn’t try my best to give you that shot.”
Giving the Benefit of the Doubt
In life, it’s so easy to cast aside people who have wronged or hurt us. But sometimes, giving people the benefit of the doubt can be a beautiful thing.
Once Turner admitted his wrongdoing and apologized for what he tried to do, Rodriguez recognized that this was a man willing to accept responsibility.
By focusing on that and giving him an opportunity, he helped to change Turner’s life.
Sure, there are certain situations where it is a good idea to remove yourself and move on. But this story is a nice reminder that sometimes, it’s better to hear people out and see how you can help them get their life back on track rather than cast them aside.
And if you are in a rough spot, Turner proves that taking responsibility and trying to do the right thing pays off in the end. He didn’t have to confess to that attempted break-in, but in doing so, he set his life on a whole new path.
It just goes to show you that most of the time, most people deserve a second chance.